Alex Counts to Step Down As President and CEO of Grameen Foundation
Friday, May 15, 2015
A little more than 18 years ago, I began my journey as the founding President and CEO of Grameen Foundation (GF). Professor Muhammad Yunus provided me with $6,000 in seed funding and enormous amounts of his time and wisdom, and of course the Grameen brand. Since then, thousands of people and organizations joined me on this journey to contribute to the global movement to eliminate poverty. Grameen Foundation became a daring and caring community of practical idealists that applies the values embodied by Professor Yunus and his team at the global level.
All journeys that begin at some point come to an end. I am announcing today that my time as the President and CEO of Grameen Foundation will be concluding this year.
In early March I informed our Chairman, Bob Eichfeld, that I wanted to set in motion the transition process that we had discussed in September 2014. Working with Bob and our Vice-Chairs, Peter Cowhey and Ricki Tigert Helfer, that transition process – which I hope will be seen as a model for a long-serving founder’s transition – is unfolding as planned. My decision and this plan were announced to the GF Board, Board members emeritus, and our global staff during the last few weeks. Today I am sharing this news publicly for the first time.
This is clearly a big step for the organization, and for me. It is also an exciting and important one, and something that I hope and expect will prompt all of us associated with Grameen Foundation to pause to celebrate what we have accomplished together these last 18 years, and also to recommit ourselves to the organization so as to ensure that its best days are ahead of it, which I believe they are. We are uniquely positioned to ensure that the financial services and information revolutions – revolutions that have already transformed the lives of those not living in poverty – become the most powerful forces for poverty reduction the world has ever known. The strength of our management team allows me to make this decision while feeling confident about the future of the organization during this transition period and beyond.
On November 5, we will have a big party/gala/celebration/fund-raiser in Washington, DC to mark the end of an era and to proceed boldly into a new one. I hope everyone associated with Grameen Foundation will consider joining us and making this our most successful and enjoyable event ever. There will be live music, tributes, and, naturally, roasts. Many former staff and Board members from our early years have already indicated they plan to come, from places as far as Southeast Asia. It will be the largest reunion of current and past Grameen Foundation staff, board members, volunteers, partners and friends in our history. Whatever your connection to the organization, mark this date on your calendar and plan on joining us. (Watch our website for details in the weeks ahead.)
I will remain actively involved in Grameen Foundation through the end of the calendar year, focusing on fund-raising, thought leadership, and participation in the transition process. And I will remain supportive of Grameen Foundation far into the future. In fact, this transition process is rooted in my strong loyalty to and belief in Grameen Foundation’s strategy and team. I will attempt to follow the positive examples of our past Board Chairs Reed Oppenheimer, the late, great Jim Sams, Susan Davis, and Paul Maritz, who each has continued contributing to the organization long after stepping down from a position of leadership.